It is 65 years today that the Empire of Japan surrendered to American forces, bringing an end to the Second World War. Japan had been brought to its knees by the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; without those devices, the war could have dragged on for months to follow, with hundreds of thousands more casualties.
Although the fighting was over, the controversy was not. Emperor Hirohito only acceded to surrender if he was not to be held to account over the actions of his forces. This is something that those who suffered at the hands of the Japanese during WW2 have never found easy to swallow. A formal apology, like the one proferred by Germany in past decades, has never been given by the Japanese government or imperial family.
As I stated in the first line of my post, it is now 65 years ago since the events that brought the war to a close. Japan has worked its way up in the world as a respectable member of the family of nations, being one of the economic powerhouses. Those that died in WW2 will continue to be remembered into the future, as their sacrifice cannot be held to be in vain.
One of the lessons learned from WW1 and WW2 is that it is eminently destructive to humiliate the vanquished, as demonstrated in the case of Germany in 1919. Whilst Germany as a single country was not wholly responsible for the outbreak of WW1, it was apportioned with all the blame. Post war reparations were exacted, which caused an economic meltdown, at one point leaving the Deutschmark at an exchange rate of 4,200,000,000,000 to the dollar. So, when Adolf Hitler came along to salvage the wreckage a decade later, his ideas were embraced, practically without question.
VJ Day follows VE Day (Victory in Europe) by 3 months and 7 days. It heralded a whole new world order, which the cataclysm of WW2 had forged. A non-violent cataclysm, which occurred in 1989 with the fall of communism in Europe, brought another wave of change. We should learn from history, as it has forged our today, and will assist us to mould our tomorrow. At our peril - to our advantage.